Audi Introduces Long-Wheelbase A4 in China
By Kevin Miller
Audi introduced a long-wheelbase A4, the A4L, in Beijing yesterday. The A4L, which is only for the Chinese auto market, will be manufactured at the FAW-VW joint venture (An Tiecheng) plant in Changchun, China. The vehicle, which will be rolled out starting at the Guangzhou Motor Show on November 18, will be at Chinese dealerships as of January 2009.
Two engine versions will be available for the Audi A4L: the 2.0 TFSI with 180 HP, and the six-cylinder 3.2 FSI with 265 HP. The chassis was tailored to Chinese road conditions to provide exceptional suspension comfort. The wheelbase – 60 millimeters (2.36 inches) longer than the A4 sedan’s wheelbase – makes the A4L a unique vehicle. The A4L is the only long-wheelbase vehicle in China’s premium B-segment.
Peter Schwarzenbauer, Member of the Board of Management for Marketing and Sales at AUDI AG, and the President of the FAW-VW joint venture, said “The long-wheelbase version of the Audi A4 is being produced exclusively in China for the Chinese market. With this premium product, we chose to go even further than elsewhere in the world to meet the requirements of our Chinese customers. With the customized Chinese A4L, which we subjected to rigorous testing in China, we are impressively demonstrating our market leadership in China’s premium segment.”
Audi has been offering a long-wheelbase version of the A6 in China since 2000. Now in its second generation, the A6L provides better driving comfort, spaciousness, and design than the competition. Both the A6L and the A4L are touted as being either an enjoyable driver’s car or a chauffeured luxury sedan.
Audi’s bespoke, extended-wheelbase vehicles for the Chinese market demonstrate both the company’s recognition of the need for products specifically tailored to suit the Chinese market, and the importance that Audi places on establishing their brand in China. The fact that they have re-engineered versions of the A4 and A6 solely for the Chinese market shows that they are willing to invest in customizing vehicles specifically for China in order to be seen by the growing segment of Chinese premium car buyers as a desirable brand. Although Chinese auto sales have slowed down along with sales globally, the A4L offers a unique combination of space, luxury and efficiency for Chinese buyers.
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